The Red Wolves Men’s Golf team is led by head coach Steve Johnson and team captain Alex Hewitt. Coach Johnson is now in his eighth season at Arkansas State after coming to Jonesboro from Southern Mississippi in 2006. Since 2006 his teams have seen their fair share of success in various tournaments and other events. One of Johnson’s main responsibilities as head coach of the golf team is recruiting. The 2013 roster features players from across the globe. The ten-man roster features players from South Africa, Canada, Mississippi, Missouri, and Arkansas. In an interview last week with Red Wolves Under the Radar, Johnson elaborated on his experiences at ASU.
Johnson has been coaching for twenty years and says that it’s a lot of fun. “It keeps you young. You’re always around young kids. It’s great to help these guys achieve their hopes and dreams.” He said that it is rewarding to see the players grow as athletes and students in their years at ASU.
A-State has gone through several changes in the years that Johnson has been here. He said that becoming the Red Wolves was “a big step in the right direction. It’s a mascot that everyone could get behind.”
Johnson discussed some of his thoughts about recruiting. He believes that the perception of ASU has changed in the last few years in the state of Arkansas. In previous years, potential in-state high school recruits may have thought ASU was similar to smaller schools like UA-Monticello or Lyon College. He said that in the last few years, thanks in part to the football team’s success, more people in Arkansas are becoming aware that ASU has competitive Division I programs.
When it comes to recruiting players, Johnson believes that “you’re trying to get the best players that you can, but you’re also trying to get the best players that are the best fit, not just for them, but for us too.” He has recruited several international players. “We’ve had success with the South Africans, and there’s actually a fairly large community of people from South Africa in Jonesboro. Jonesboro’s a pretty easy-going place, and the guys seem to like it. The Canadians love the mild climate of February in Jonesboro.”
Johnson said that his team prepares differently for each tournament. The team prepares based on how the course at the tournament is built. For their next event, the Bill Ross Intercollegiate, they’re spending a lot of time on shot-making skills.
Alex Hewitt is the team captain for the 2013-2014 season. In his interview with Red Wolves Under the Radar, Hewitt spoke about being team captain, preparing for tournaments, and some of his favorite golf players. Hewitt is a senior business major from Little Rock. He believes that being a senior and being team captain carries a different amount of leadership than he’s ever had, but that he just tries to emulate the guys who were upperclassmen when he was a freshman and sophomore. Hewitt said that different players prepare a variety of ways for tournaments. Some guys prefer to practice at the driving range but some prefer playing full rounds. With three courses in Jonesboro there are plenty of options for practice. Hewitt said that being a student athlete can be stressful but it’s also rewarding. He says it requires balance, sacrifice, and time management.
Hewitt’s favorite golf players are Tiger Woods, Jason Dufner, and Adam Scott. He said that every golfer has to respect what Tiger has done for the game of golf. He said that Dufner’s laid-back, nonchalant attitude is a trait that he likes. When asked about how being a college athlete is different from Arkansas high school athletics, Hewitt stated that it is “a completely different world.” He has teammates from across the world, and said that his family has hosted his international teammates for Thanksgiving a few times. He also recently visited South Africa to hang out with some of his teammates in their home country.
Johnson and Hewitt both said that the best way to support the team is to follow them online. They also encouraged students to show up for their home tournament in April. The ASU Red Wolf Intercollegiate is April 7th-8th, 2014 in Jonesboro.
The team’s next event is the Bill Ross Intercollegiate, October 15-16th, 2013 in Overland Park, KS.
You can watch some of the highlights of their interview here:
For more information about the golf team you can visit the A-State athletics page: